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Union officer warns USPS shift from GJ to Denver will cause more mail delays for mountain towns

February 20, 2024, 9:42 am

The vice president of a Western Slope postal worker union is sounding the alarm that the U.S. Postal Service is considering shifting mail processing from Grand Junction to Denver – a move he says could cause even more delays for postally-challenged mountain towns like Vail.

In an email, Shane McDonnell, vice president of the Western Colorado Area Local (WCAL #600), a branch of the American Postal Workers, urged concerned USPS customers to attend a Postal Service Community Meeting at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the University Center on the Colorado Mesa University campus at 1455 North 12th Street.

The purpose of the meeting is to get community input before making mail processing changes at the Grand Junction Processing Plant.

“The Postal Service has proposed changes that would move mail processing out of the Grand Junction Processing Plant to the Denver Processing Plant,” McDonnell wrote in an email to RealVail.com this week. “Due to adverse weather, construction, traffic and even mudslides on I-70, this could delay mail by several days. In our opinion, the changes that are being made will cause mail delays in the rural and mountain areas of Western Colorado.”

That statement could be amended to more delays in the mountain areas of Western Colorado, where some ski towns have considered suing the USPS and the state’s congressional delegation has been hammering on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for months to see improvements.

The Vail Post Office, named for the late former president and Vail, Beaver Creek resident Gerald R. Ford, is a shambles these days, with broken windows, lack of staff, potholed roads and abandoned cars under snow heaps in the parking lot.

Now comes news of a shift to Denver processing and utilizing the 100-mile stretch of I-70 between Vail and Denver that can sometimes take many hours to navigate over two snow-choked 10,000-foot mountain passes (Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel). While that route avoids the often-problematic I-70 stretch through Glenwood Canyon, it also sees far more traffic.

“We believe that parcels, letters and flats will be adversely affected,” McDonnell wrote. “This would include election mail, which we need to protect as a secure and effective way for the public to cast their votes. Rural communities on the Western Slope could be harmed by the proposed changes.”

Pressed on what the change could mean for Vail, McDonnell added: “On average, there is a closure on I-70 every 2.4 days. It is crazy to think that service to the rural areas will not be affected when the delays happen almost daily.”

Click here (all three are rtf downloads) for the USPS notice of intent, notice of Thursday’s public meeting, and initial findings. While McDonnell is hoping members of the public can attend the meeting to oppose the shift from Grand Junction processing to Denver, he’s also urging those unable to attend to write letters to “Postmaster DeJoy about any concerns as well as fill out the survey they have provided with their notices.”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

2 Responses to Union officer warns USPS shift from GJ to Denver will cause more mail delays for mountain towns

  1. Mark Bergman Reply

    February 20, 2024 at 10:51 am

    Much of my mail passes through Denver to Glenwood Springs and/or GJ before returning to Eagle County. Unless they are flying the mail to GJ, it could be faster to process in Denver.

  2. Martin Fritzgerld Reply

    February 24, 2024 at 6:33 am

    I gave up on the USPS years ago. It’s FedEx and UPS for me. Never underestimate how badly the government can screw something up.

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